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Green Google tops Cool IT Leaderboard

By Adrian Bishop - 08 Feb 2012 14:27:6 GMT
Green Google tops Cool IT Leaderboard

A + for Google on green energy; Credit: Shutterstock

Search engine giant Google is the greenest IT company, says the Greenpeace International environmental campaigning body. Google has overtaken chip manufacturer Cisco and electronics firm Ericsson in the latest Cool IT Leaderboard, Greenpeace International has announced.

The fifth annual Cool IT Leaderboard features 21 top IT companies and ranks them according to their clean energy leadership potential, adoption of clean energy solutions and potential influence.

Google gained ground for investing in renewable energy and backing of stronger American clean energy policy and the increasing of the European Union's greenhouse gas target to 30% by 2020.

Gary Cook, Greenpeace International IT analyst, says, "Technology giants have a real opportunity to use their power and influence to change how we produce and use energy - Google tops the table because it's putting its money where its mouth is by pumping investment into renewable energy.

"The IT sector might like to consider itself forward-thinking, but it is keeping far too quiet while the dirty energy industry continues to exert undue influence on both the political process and financial markets".

Energy demand from data and telecom centres that power 'cloud' computing is increasing and much of it comes from 'dirty' suppliers, such as diesel and coal, says Greenpeace.

Cool IT Leaderboard 5

Cool IT Leaderboard 5; Credit: Greenpeace

But Google, Cisco, and Dell all stood out for using more than 20% renewable energy in running their operations. Japanese telecom company Softbank obtained the highest political advocacy score ever for its rapid shift away from nuclear power towards renewable energy. Oracle had the lowest ranking overall due to failing to disclose its renewable or dirty energy use.

Since the last Cool IT survey, six telecom companies were added, along with major IT software and equipment brands from India and Japan.

Although there was found to be a steady increase in the quantity and strength of renewable energy solutions from many companies, including Cisco, IBM, Ericsson and Fujitsu, it also found a significant lowering of policy advocacy leadership by IT companies.

Gary Cook says, "The IT industry must use its influence, innovative spirit and technological know-how to overcome the dirty energy companies who are holding on to the status quo, and holding us back from a transition to a renewable energy economy.

"What we're seeing is a lot of talk from companies about moving toward clean energy, but so far, not much of action".

Influential Apple and Facebook were not been included this year as they did not meet the Leaderboard criteria of demonstrating leadership or electing to pursue market opportunities to drive IT energy solutions.

However, Facebook has recently changed its policies and is now committed to renewable power and is partnering with Opower to help users compare their energy usage, so it will be included next year.

The Cool IT Leaderboard was unveiled in New Delhi, India, at a business roundtable organised by Greenpeace and Cybermedia India Online that focuses on how renewable energy can help Indian business grow. The Leaderboard is part of Greenpeace's campaign to challenge the IT industry to use its innovative skills and ingenuity to create scalable solutions and reduce global emissions.

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning body that aims to change attitudes and behaviour to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace.

The full report and detailed table are available on the Greenpeace website.

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